Donkey Kong is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The Super Smash Bros. series Donkey Kong amiibo was first released on November 21, 2014 as part of Wave 1. The Super Mario Bros. series Donkey Kong amiibo can also be used as a Figure Player.
In Super Smash Bros. 4
Donkey Kong is currrently ranked as a B-tier fighter in Super Smash Bros. 4. For several months following the release of the Wii U version, Donkey Kong was seen as a bottom-tier amiibo; many trainers wrote it off as “hopeless” and a “waste of time”. Fortunately, a few dedicated players gave the character a second chance and were able to discover his true potential. Donkey Kong’s greatest strength is his grab game. His cargo throw bypasses Improved escapability, the most centralizing bonus effect in the game, and serves as an excellent damage-racking tool. DK has a handy jab that can be used repeatedly to great effect as well as a good set of tilts that blend power and speed. His smash attacks are among the strongest in the game and deal incredible damage with proper timing and spacing. Donkey Kong is also a heavyweight fighter, meaning his in-game resilience is higher relative to the rest of the cast.
Even with his many promising advantages, Donkey Kong is not without his flaws. The character’s AI has a bad habit of overusing its forward aerial and tends to use uncharged Giant Punch attacks at random. Donkey Kong’s smash attacks are slow and punishable if missed and his recovery is also rather poor.
In the early Smash 4 amiibo metagame, Donkey Kong was quickly cast aside and received almost no tournament results whatsoever. It was not until the final year of the metagame that trainers discovered DK’s potential. By the release of Ultimate, Donkey Kong had obtained average tournament representation and results in Smash 4.
If you would like to read the Super Smash Bros. 4 Donkey Kong amiibo training guide, please refer to this post.
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Donkey Kong has been significantly buffed for his appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. As with most returning veterans, his walk speed, run speed, and air speed have all been slightly increased. Many of DK’s attacks are much faster at the cost of being slightly weaker; that being said, the strength and KO potential of his forward and up smash attacks has been increased, so these moves are the exception. In addition to a faster set of aerials, Donkey Kong’s special moves have been enhanced: Giant Punch charges faster and no longer leaves him helpless when used in midair while Headbutt now has super armor.
Donkey Kong’s AI has seen a significant upgrade and is no longer as spammy and unreliable as it was in Smash 4. His other flaws remain the same, however; his recovery is still poor and his strongest attacks are still somewhat sluggish and exploitable if missed.
Donkey Kong has accrued above-average tournament representation and average tourney results and considered to be slightly better than his Smash 4 iteration. His unique trait of bypassing Improved escapability is no longer relevant (even in the Spirits metagame) which removes one of his key strengths relative to the cast, but his buffs are thought to outweigh this by a significant margin.
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